Three years ago, I started college looking for something new to try. One of the things I promised myself when I went to college was to get out of my comfort zone because I only have four years at college, and I want to make it count. I knew that I was going to join a club sport, but I could not decide which one. I then stumbled upon the Women’s Rugby Team, and I was instantly hooked. The game of rugby is a challenging one, it has taught me a lot about myself and I attribute a lot of who I am to this game. Here are some lessons that rugby has taught me over the years both metaphorically and literally:
- How to take a hit
One of the first lessons I learned in rugby was how to take a hit. Every game you play without a doubt you will get hit and pulled to the ground. If you don’t, you aren’t playing. I was scared at first, but as time went on I got used to it and it made me stronger. It taught me that it is okay to get hit and go down, your teammates will be there to help you back up. There is also something very humbling about getting thrown into the dirt when you think you can run through a wall of angry people.
- How to be supported and support others
No doubt, rugby is a game of teamwork. Something that your team needs to succeed is the support of your teammates around you. When I first started out, my thought process was to just run the ball up the field as fast as I can. I learned quickly that my plan was not going to work. My team taught me that they are here to support me, and I should do the same for them. I can take this lesson off the field into life. This skill has taught me that it is okay to ask for help sometimes and be mindful of people around you who might need your support as well.
- How to get back up after being knocked down
In rugby, you get knocked down again and again, and usually it is hard. Time after time, you get knocked down and it can be hard to stand back up, especially if you know you will probably get hit back down again. This also happens in life. It hits you down again and again, until you feel like you can’t get back up, but you still do. I remember my first game when I first went down hard, it hurt a lot and I stayed down for a couple seconds because of the shock but then I rose to my feet and continued to play. I was proud of myself that day, I was scared to get knocked down in fear that I wouldn’t get up, but I did it anyway.
- How not to care about what other people think
For women’s rugby, there is huge stigma around the game. It is not seen as a women’s sport or the only girls who play it are masculine. When I tell people that I play rugby I often get two reactions. The first reaction is people tell me that it is too dangerous to play, or they think it is boring because girls don’t know how to hit. One of my favorite aspects of rugby is it is one of the only sports that the rules don’t differ in the game when boys and girls play. Women’s rugby is played the same way as men’s and yes, we try to hit just as hard. The second reaction is they view me as more masculine just because I play a rough sport. People in society often correlate certain things with certain genders and toughness, unfortunately fails under the male stereotype. I love this game so much that I got over the comments made to me and my teammates. I stopped caring what other people thought because I love what I do, and I am stronger for it.
- The rewards of trying something new!
Lastly, it can be rewarding to step out of your comfort zone. Rugby made me who I am today, and it is a huge part of my college experience. Some of my best friends at college were made through rugby and I know these people will be a part of my life for a very long time. I know it seems scary and sometimes it will be hard but, hey who knows maybe it could change your life like rugby changed mine.